Today is a very special day in our household... it's Eric's birthday! And although it's never fun having a birthday on a Monday, we spent the whole weekend leading up to it celebrating.
Things kicked off Sunday afternoon at Tour de Fat, which is one of my favorite festivals ever. It's a traveling festival sponsored by New Belgium brewery that we loved last year, so it was a must-attend this year, too. There were bands, including these fellas, the Cleverys, who play bluegrass renditions of popular Top 40 songs... super entertaining.
Tour de Fat also had comedy shows, lawn games, a game show where they gave away a sweet bike to the lucky winner and of course plenty of New Belgium beer. Eric's favorite part was the bike corral, which was full of crazy Dr. Seuss-like bikes for people to try out.
Like this weird little tricycle contraption.
This wild bike that allows you to pop a wheelie on both the front and back sides.
And this beauty, which is the definition of fat tire.
After Tour de Fat, we rode our bikes home where we cooled off in the basement a bit before heading to our second festival of the day: South Shore Frolics.
This was the 63rd year for the South Shore Frolics festival, which takes place just a few blocks from our house in South Shore park, right by the venue where we're getting married!
The Frolics was absolutely packed on the hot summer day. There was some incredible people watching, and some pretty awesome festival games, both old and new to me.
The Spot game was a totally new concept to me. There was a big square of tables where these colored dots with frames hinged over them. What you do is place bets on the colored dot and put your money under the frame. Then, someone around the perimeter throws a ball into the middle, where there's a roped-off area filled with colored dots that the ball will eventually rest on one color. Each color has an odds to win, green being the most plentiful color, then red, then yellow, then blue and finally black is the 10-to-one moneymaker.
After about five rounds, we actually ended up even on our winnings, so we walked away before we got roped in too much.
We also played the pushing quarters game, which we probably made a dollar off of as well.
But no game at the Frolics was more exciting than the sausage raffle. This game is probably the most Wisconsin thing I've ever experienced. The way it's played is quite simple.
You visit the booth, exchange a dollar for a raffle paddle, and then they spin the wheel. Whichever paddle number corresponds to the number where the wheel lands, that lucky person wins some kind of sausage... or a package of bacon.... or hot dogs. You get the idea.
In honor or his birth date, Eric got paddle number 16.... but sadly, it didn't work out. We walked away sausageless.
To make up for losing in the sausage raffle, Eric consoled himself with a corndog.
The rest of the festival consisted of us stuffing our faces with funnel cake, rocking out to coverband extraordinaire Cold Sweat and the Brew City Horns and waiting for the fireworks, which were set off on the beach directly next to the festival.
It was pretty cool to see the fireworks being shot off right next to us. They were huge, loud and a lot of fun to watch.
The grand finale was something called "Blow up the Beach," which basically was a giant fireball on the sand, and let off a huge gust of hot air. It was a little scary, but the emcee of the night ensured us it was all part of the program.
But the celebrating didn't stop there! Yesterday we extended the celebration by doing a little swimming. We found a great little beach area at Menomonee Park in Menomonee Falls with a decent swimming area, complete with a diving platform and diving board!
Yesterday was yet another hot summer day, so we really welcomed being able to hop in a lake for a couple hours to cool off.
After the lake adventure, we decided to have a birthday cookout - Eric's choice on whatever would be thrown on the grill! Naturally, he chose steaks.
With some grilled zucchini and onions for good measure.
Last week, I asked Eric what kind of birthday treat he'd like me to make for him. No cake for this guy; he requested some birthday pie. More specifically, "some kind of pie a la mode."
So baked him up a quick, delicious strawberry-nectarine pie.
The consensus? He had two large pieces and licked the plate clean both times.
And stay tuned! I'll share the pie recipe later this week! I'm so happy with the way it turned out.
But with guts full of pie and a long weekend behind us, we turned in early.... celebrating birthdays is exhausting! And we hadn't even gotten to his actual birthday yet!
Eric's real birthday surprise wasn't just pie... I'd been scheming for weeks, planning to send him another birthday treat at work on his actual birthday. This morning at his office, Eric was visited by a very special entertainer: A singing chicken!
I knew Eric would get a kick out of getting a singing telegram on his birthday, so I called up Sing a Song Telegram, chose the chicken costume and had it scheduled for this morning! This was the first time I'd ever ordered a singing telegram for someone, and I have to say John at Sing a Song was great to work with! Obviously I didn't hear his handiwork, but Eric said it was hilarious! I had the card written "I hope you have a cluckin' good birthday," because I have the sense of humor of a 70-year-old man.
And on that note, that was a long three days of birthday fun! Happy birthday, Eric! I know I missed out on most of your years leading up to today, but I can't wait to spend the next 32 years with you, and beyond! :)